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Friday 08 June 2012
It only took nine years: Wimbledon jinx ended in Manchester

Following an excellent response from readers for your favourite moments of the past decade, we have featured several magic memories in the past few weeks. They have often focused on your stories of the day in question and how you celebrated another great win on AFC Wimbledon's road to the Football League. THAT penalty from Danny Kedwell at Manchester last May was obviously the best AFC Wimbledon moment for thousands of our fans, but it is unlikely that many, if any, will have travelled as far to see the match as Paul Martin. The lifelong Wimbledon fan, who lives in Singapore, was urged to stay away by many of his friends as he had not seen us win since 25 April, 2009, when AFC Wimbledon beat St Albans City 3-0 on the final day of the Blue Square South title-winning season.

Paul, who moved to the Far East seven years ago, admitted that he risked losing plenty of his friends after getting a ticket for Manchester and deciding to make the marathon journey from Singapore. "The last time I had seen us win was at home to St Albans in the last game of the season in the Conference South," he said. "Despite attending 10 games or so over the next two seasons in the conference, we lost every single one. None of my mates ever wanted me to go again so when I told them I was flying over from Singapore for the final I was not popular at all."

However, the 39-year-old's luck was about to change, thankfully, in a big way and he regards the play-off victory against Luton Town as one of the best memories of his life.

"While at the time, our first league game against Sandhurst was obviously very special and the first friendly against Sutton a few weeks earlier, Manchester will always be one of my most treasured moments and I will take it to the grave with me. It could not have been a better weekend. To have been in the ground behind the goal was awesome and then to celebrate long into the night and eventually at the team hotel was the perfect end to an amazing day. I had not seen so many grown men cry before. The world of football for once seemed to enjoy our success with so many people congratulating us all night and for me, in my colours, all the way back home again to Singapore."

Though Barry Faust may not have travelled quite so far to watch our glory in Manchester as he lives in Portsmouth, the victory meant just as much to him. As a founder member of the Dons Trust and current shareholder, the 40-year-old could not help thinking back to those early days nine years previously.

"When we formed in 2002, the emotion I had that we were a club again was too much to bear," he said. "After hearing the news from the FA, I knew I had to do all I could to make our club a reality. On that day, I said that we must form another club, someone heard me, and we did go ahead and form a club.

"I took my daughter to the play-off final and we were both nearly in tears when Danny Kedwell scored that penalty. I was happy for so many people. Not just the club or myself, but for Ivor Heller and the others who started it all. I was thinking about them with tears in my eyes, I wanted to thank them and all the players for making a dream come true."